Disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein spied on actresses and journalists who were attempting to expose sexual assault and rape allegations against him by hiring private security agencies and former Israeli National intelligence agents, reported The New Yorker.
The report by Ronan Farrow follows Farrow’s explosive investigative story, which accused the Oscar-winning producer of raping many women, including actor Asia Argento. “In the fall of 2016, Harvey Weinstein set out to suppress allegations that he had sexually harassed or assaulted numerous women,” the latest New Yorker report said. “He began to hire private security agencies to collect information on the women and the journalists trying to expose the allegations.”
The agencies included Kroll, one of the world’s largest corporate intelligence companies, and Black Cube, run by former agents of Mossad, the national intelligence agency of Israel. According to the report, two private investigators from Black Cube posing with false identities met with actor Rose McGowan to uncover information.
McGowan was one of eight women who accused Weinstein of sexual assault in a New York Times report by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey. “One of the investigators pretended to be a women’s-rights advocate and secretly recorded at least four meetings with McGowan,” The New Yorker report said. “The same operative, using a different false identity and implying that she had an allegation against Weinstein, met twice with a journalist to find out which women were talking to the press.”
Weinstein had the agencies collect information on “dozens of individuals, and compile psychological profiles that sometimes focussed on their personal or sexual histories”, the report said “Weinstein monitored the progress of the investigations personally. He also enlisted former employees from his film enterprises to join in the effort, collecting names and placing calls that, according to some sources who received them, felt intimidating.”
Apart from actors, the investigative agencies also targetted journalists to discredit their sources. Jodi Kantor, the journalist who wrote the Times piece, and Farrow were among the victims.
Weinstein got some help from a few news organisations, which helped him uncover sources and information. “A December, 2016, e-mail exchange between Weinstein and Dylan Howard, the chief content officer of American Media Inc., which publishes the National Enquirer, shows that Howard shared with Weinstein material obtained by one of his reporters, as part of an effort to help Weinstein disprove McGowan’s allegation of rape.”
Weinstein’s representatives have denied the allegations. Weinstein’s spokesperson Sallie Hofmeister said, “It is a fiction to suggest that any individuals were targeted or suppressed at any time.”